Sneaky the snake
A pet's death is never easy, and when 7-year-old Cyrus Ballo of Federal Hill lost two hermit crabs within a week, he was devastated. He'd taken great care of them, after all.
His parents, Joanna Pi-Sunyer and Michael Ballo, wanted to continue fostering their son's caring personality and started thinking about a new pet.
Cyrus wanted a turtle, but his mom and dad weren't so sure about the amount of care turtles need to stay happy and healthy. So, after thinking for a little while, they welcomed a corn snake to their home and named him Sneaky, after the song "Sneaky Goes Dancin'."
Ever since, Sneaky has offered entertainment to the whole family. He lives in a tank in Cyrus' bedroom, and Cyrus and his dad enjoy holding and playing with the snake several times a week.
He's about 20 inches long, as thick as a magic marker, and has smooth, soft skin that is warm -- thanks to his heat lamp. There's nothing slimy about this snake.
Family members also take bets on when Sneaky will shed his skin, which he does in private. No one has yet caught him in the act, but they know he's getting ready when his skin turns dull, and they find his old skin on his bedding or draped over the tree limb in his tank.
They enjoy watching him wolf down his frozen mice, which the family purchases at a local pet store. And yes, he swallows them whole.
To have your pet -- including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like -- considered for Collared, email information to email@example.com.
-- Kim Fernandez (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun photo /May 13, 2013)
What's the best way to deal with seasonal allergies?
Pets react to airborne allergies just like humans do. But when they inhale these potential allergens, instead of just sneezing and sniffling, they get very inflamed and itchy skin that can become infected. It is important to treat any secondary infections or underlying conditions before starting to treat seasonal allergies. The idea of treating seasonal allergies is to make the skin less reactive. Here are some of the agents used to treat or manage allergies for pets.
Some pets respond to these. There are a variety of choices, but, just like humans, not all pets respond to the same antihistamine.
Fatty acid supplements:
These work together with antihistamines to help manage the skin inflammation.
Steroids or cortisone-type medications:
These are highly effective in managing the itching and giving temporary relief. But because they have significant side effects, these are not ideal for long-term management.
Using a medicated shampoo helps remove the allergens from the skin and also provides a calming effect.
Immunotherapy or allergen shots:
This would involve giving shots at regular intervals and at longer intervals based on response.
Your veterinarian can provide you with more information on which therapy might be best for your pet.
This week's expert is Dr. Padma Yadlapalli, Freetown Animal Hospital in Columbia. To submit a question for a local animal expert, email firstname.lastname@example.org.